Eva van Emden (she/her), freelance editor

Certified copy editor and proofreader


June 26, 2010

Technology for job seekers, part 1: How to send your resumé

I realized during a recent resumé-writing workshop I attended that there are a few simple things that you can do with the tools you’re probably already using to make applying for jobs through email run more smoothly.

In part 1, I’ll talk about why you shouldn’t send your resumé out as a Word document and how to produce a PDF instead. In part 2, I’ll talk about a few nice features in Gmail that can make your business communication go more smoothly.

Send your resumé as a PDF

Send your resumé in PDF form, not as a Word document. Word documents are the wrong format to use for a document that 1) has to be easily accessible to as many people as possible 2) has to look good and 3) should be read-only (not editable).

First, if you send someone a Word document, you’re expecting them to have MS Word installed, and that’s not a good assumption to make. Furthermore, assuming that they do have Word and they fire it up and open your resumé, they’re going to see it in editable form, possibly laid out in draft view, possibly rendering your fonts incorrectly, and perhaps even with squiggly underlines showing all the places where the spelling and grammar checker disagrees with your carefully thought out and well-founded stylistic choices. Or possibly even pointing out a real mistake, god forbid that there should be one. In any case, this is not the first impression you want to make. Finally, the recipient now has the option of printing out your carefully formatted resumé in a way that makes it (and therefore you) look terrible.

So what should you do instead? Save your document as a PDF. PDF, if you’re not familiar with it, is a format created by Adobe. It’s viewable with Adobe Reader, which is free and easily downloadable. Just about anybody who solicits a resumé in digital format from you will be able to view a PDF. When the recipient opens the PDF, it will look exactly the way it did when you created it: same fonts, same font size, same layout. When they print it, it will come out looking good.

How do I make a PDF?

  • Using Word: Under “Save As . . .” choose the “PDF” option.
  • Not using Word: LibreOffice Writer is free and good. LibreOffice is a free tool suite that does most of what MS Office does. It will read Word documents (and write them) and export to PDF. You can either create your resumé in LibreOffice in the first place, or just use it to create a PDF.

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